Clyde A. Milner II is the founding director of the Ph.D. program in heritage studies and a professor emeritus of history at Arkansas State University. Known for his research, writing, and editing on the history of the American West and of Native Americans, Milner now applies his interest in American regionalism and cultural identity to the Mississippi Delta and the interdisciplinary initiatives of heritage studies. For eighteen of his twenty-six years on the faculty at Utah State University, Milner edited the Western Historical Quarterly. He has written or edited eight books, including two with his wife, Carol O’Connor: the Oxford History of the American West (1994) and As Big as the West: The Pioneer Life of Granville Stuart (2009). A recipient of the Western Historical Association's Award of Merit for outstanding service to the field of Western history, he currently lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The most readily known effort at reconstruction after the Civil War took place in the defeated South. But the federal government also focused its powers after the war toward incorporating American Indians and Mormons (i.e. Latter-day Saints) into the national mainstream. The failures of reconstruction in the South and federal Indian policy in the West are well known. But what happened to Mormons in their Great Basin Kingdom? The federal government applied its power mostly through laws and court actions to end the Mormon practice of polygamy and to disestablish the church if this were not done. By 1890, the church leadership complied with the federal mandate and by 1896 Utah became a state. Having experienced a form of defeat and reconstruction, why are Latter-day Saints today not angry like latter day white Southerners? Why don't Mormons have a lost cause with monuments, flags, and organizations that match those of unreconstructed white Southerners?